Saturday, December 27, 2014

Modified Zippy Top

Hello and happy holidays! I hope you're enjoying the festive season and getting in some sewing/crafting time ;-)

I seem to have a pattern crush on the See Kate Sew Zippy Top at the moment, I've made 3 for myself and 2 for the recent school fete, with plans afoot for 2 more! What I love about it is the simple shape, lovely neckline and sleeves and the scope for adaptation.

This is my latest one, a slighlty more dressy version. I think it's the fabric that really makes this version. Last time I was at mylocal thrift shop a garment caught my eye - I don't tend to shop for clothes at the thrift shop (or anywhere else) these days but I do go looking for fabric to upcycle. The garment was a large kaftan type top from H&M in polyester. My kids say this is my zebra top :-) but I think it looks like a lovely watercolour landscape painting, or something like that. No matter what, I really like it.

I unpicked the existing seams to get maximum area and cut out my pieces as usual. This time I omitted the zip as the fabric is very light weight and delicate and I thought the weight of the zip and facing might pull it out of shape. Also the neckline is wide enough to comfortably go over the head without an opening. I simply turned over the edges of the neckline and armholes twice and sewed a small hem. I wouldn't normally do this as I find it can look messy but in this very sheer fabric and with the busy print it worked fine. I also did my usual length for the hem - I found the crop length too short but the other length too long to be flattering for me so I went in between.

As a decorative element I slightly gathered the shoulder seam and added ties (repurposed from the original top). I really love this type of detail and the extra touch it adds without too much effort.

I really like this version of the pattern. I've worn it with these grey/black jeans but I can also picture it with my favourite black stretch satin cigarette pants for a more dressy evening.

Do you have a pattern crush at the moment? Do tell!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Summer sewing : : jersey maxi skirt

I've been wanting a maxi skirt or two to add to my summer wardrobe, for those days when you know, you don't feel like having to be careful when you bend over, or maybe your legs need attention (or 'deforesting' as a friend used to say :-). I'd been thinking about the Sewaholic Gabriola but knew I would labour over the details of that pattern... what I wanted was a quick and easy project.

Trawling through my knits stash I found a quite fluid and lovely navy blue jersey-type fabric. I'm not sure where I got it, possibly my Melbourne trip with Deb earlier in the year. The GJs $2p/m and $4p/m tables were great for fabric to experiment on. Then I found a tutorial online to use as a base and kind of winged it from there (I can't seem to find the tutorial again, sorry, but there are plenty if you Google 'jersey maxi skirt tutorial').

The shape is essentially just an exaggerated A line sewn onto a yoga-style waistband. No closures or fussing, taking advantage of the stretch and drape of the fabric.

Yoga style waistbands really appeal to me as they're so comfy and also add a bit of reassuring stability to delicate or flowy fabrics. To further the safety aspect I added a row of wide elastic into the inner waistband (under the yoga band as you can sort of see below) - when my kids were smaller I had several alarming incidents with clothes where I almost had a loose skirt pulled down, loose top pulled up etc and it has left me not wanting to take any chances!!

And just a note about styling my skirt... I  knew the loose shape would suit a fitted or slimline top, but nothing I tried looked right. I tried the Wiksten tank above, untucked as I always do, but that wasn't structured enough - then a funny thing happened where a bit of the hem got caught in the skirt waist and I had an 'ah ha' moment - tucked looked sooo much better, even though I never wear things tucked (well I do now :-). I love lessons like this where you are forced to deviate from what you normally do and go out of your comfort zone. I think this old dog has learnt a new trick ;-)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Tween sewing

Several years ago I made my eldest girl a Sophie Tunic from Sisboom as a sun/beach cover-up. She's loved it and worn it to death but for a while now it's been way too small and she's been asking for an update. So when we were in a fabric store together recently I asked her to pick out a new fabric. She chose this lovely Cloud 9 printed cotton (proud mother moment ;-)

I think this is a great style for kids, not too cutesy or fussy and easy to wear. The fabric was lovely to work with and the top came together well and easily. If anything I find the Sisboom patterns a bit over-explained but then I guess that makes sure newbie sewers are covered.

The only change I made was to add sleeve tabs.  The tab pattern is from my Make it Perfect Shearwater Kaftan pattern, which is like a grown-up version of the Sophie tunic. Make it Perfect now also have a little girl 'mini' version of the Shearwater, but as I already had the Sisboom pattern I thought I'd better save my pennies and re-use it. Don't you love kids patterns with a large range of sizes!

I also made her some new shorts, which happen to go reasonably well with the shirt. The pattern is Dana from Madeit's Shorts pattern, which is a great basic, especially for someone with a few kids to clothe - the sizing goes from 12 months to 10 years and Dana includes lots of tutorials for variations on her website/ It's one of those patterns where I wondered whether I should draft them myself, but really, for $8 you get all of those sizes already drafted, and who doesn't like to support the lovely indie designers. This is the 4th pair of shorts I've made from this pattern and I'm sure there will be many more.

For these I used a piece of black linen with some stretch my my stash, redesigned the front to add sewn in pockets (easy to do if you've sewn pockets before) and added 2 large decorative buttons.

She likes the whole outfit so we're both happy :-)
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